Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are able to Maintain Dental Skills: A 2-year follow-up of Desensitization Treatment
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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine: (1) how ability to receive a Minimum Threshold Exam (MTE) was maintained, (2) what new dental skills were acquired, and (3) the prevalence of GA, oral sedation, and protective stabilization used. Methods: We organized a retrospective 2-year case series. The sample was comprised of 138 children with ASD who participated in a dental desensitization program. Data were obtained from chart notes for each subject and a comprehensive pre-visit information intake form completed by the caregiver. Results: The results show that once the MTE had been achieved, the majority of children (92%) maintained the skill. Some new dental skills were attained by most children, most commonly toothbrush prophylaxis (83%) and fluoride varnish (77%). However, most other skills (rubber-cup prophylaxis, radiographs, hand scaling, sealants or restorative care) the majority of children never accomplished. Use of oral sedation and protective stabilization was minute, but 22% of children needed General Anesthesia for dental care. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that most children with ASD who learn to receive an oral examination will maintain that ability over time. Teaching children with ASD to cooperate for an exam allows long-term oral health supervision and diagnosis of dental disease at an early stage when it can be more easily addressed. In contrast to the high rate of exam maintenance, children in the study did not acquire new dental skills at nearly the same rates. Therefore, as patients with ASD age it is important to consider that some will require ABGT.
- Dentistry